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JAY RAMEY

Will Volvo's S90L land stateside?

The Volvo S90 made its auto show debut in Detroit this month. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
Jay Ramey is an associate editor with Autoweek, a sister publication of Automotive News.

Volvo's revival of the S90 nameplate, dormant since the late 1990s, brings back the brand's aspirations for a luxury flagship to take on the Germans.

Developed on the company's Scalable Product Architecture shared with the XC90 crossover, the S90 will battle the likes of the BMW 5 series, Mercedes-Benz E class and Lexus GS when it lands in stores later in the year.

But is an even more luxurious model in the cards for North America?

A long-wheelbase version of the S90 has been spotted testing in China, raising the prospect that this version could be shared with other markets. The S90L is expected to feature a wheelbase stretched roughly 4 inches, aimed at increasing rear seat legroom. The sedan is also expected to boast a redesigned rear console and rear seats.

The S90L will join the XC90 Excellence, a luxury version of the crossover with a luxe rear passenger compartment set to be offered in a number of markets including China. It is unclear whether the S90L will repeat all the luxury features of the XC90 Excellence, such as a fold-out table that deploys from the rear console, storage bins, reclining rear seats, foot rests and media screens.

When it comes to engines, the long-wheelbase model is expected to offer the same lineup of powerplants as the standard-wheelbase S90, at least in China.

Volvo previously produced a long-wheelbase S80L in China, stretched 5.5 inches.

That model was not offered in North America, but the Sino-Swedish automaker now sells the S60 Inscription sedan in the U.S. The S60 Inscription is a long-wheelbase version of the S60 that is built and sold in China as the S60L.

Volvo expects the S60 Inscription to be a relatively low-volume model in the U.S., as it will be weighed down by the price of its additional luxury trimmings.

Coupled with the XC90's march upmarket, we wouldn't rule out the debut of the S90L sedan here under the Inscription trim, though company representatives are not discussing this possibility at the moment.

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